Tumbar: a good word to know to be streetwise in this country. It means to rip somebody off, whether it be by overcharging them, selling them knockoff goods as originals, or any of the other endlessly unscrupulous ways that human beings come up with to hoodwink others. As far as I know, it’s a very Colombian word, though not an exclusively Colombian phenomenon, of course. I remember that it was my first boss in this country who taught me this word–just the theory, naturally. I’d say I’ve probably been overcharged by a taxi driver or two here, but for the most part I think I pay local prices, maybe give or take a few hundred pesos here and there. Is it really worth getting stressed over what amounts to a few extra cents now and again? No, it’s not, just so long as the tumbada isn’t too asinine on my part. Then again, I’m much too tacaña to be giving away many opportunities to be fleeced in the first place.
Another interesting word I learned recently is cabecear. I already knew it meant to nod off, but apparently it’s also a local synonym of tumbar. I’ll have to keep my ears perked to see if I hear it more. Tumbar is definitely very common, however. Its standard meaning, as I’m sure you already know, is to knock something down, such as a house, which is what the classic hit “La vamo a tumbar” from Colombia’s Pacific coast is all about. The singer’s happiness is so infectious, and it’s a great song to dance to at parties–you can listen to it here.
¿Pagaste doscientos mil por esos zapatos Nike, y salieron chiviados? ¡Te tumbaron!
You paid two hundred thousand pesos for those Nikes, and it turns out they’re fake? They really suckered you good!
No me ubico del todo en la ciudad todavía, pero sé lo suficiente para que los taxistas no me puedan tumbar.
I still don’t know my way around the city perfectly, but I know enough so the taxi drivers can’t rip me off.
__________________________________________________ Non-natives, what’s your experience with this word? Had you heard it before? How have you heard it used? Where? If you’re a native Spanish speaker, anything to correct, clarify, comment on or concur with?